Tip: Do Rack Pull-Ups for Bigger Lats

Pull up rack

Rack pull-ups are one of the best exercises you can do if you want to isolate your lats more.

Traditional pull-ups and rack pull-ups have a few key differences. A rack-pull up is still a vertical pulling exercise, but it targets the latissimus dorsi more effectively.

Since the lats connect at the spine, you’ll have to lengthen your lats to get the most out of this exercise

Usually, you’d want a straight back when you’re squatting or deadlifting since that would be biomechanically superior. Try bending over and touching your toes while stretching your lats.

Rack chins up

You’ll notice your lats lengthen. This is precisely what you want because it recruits more of your lat muscle as compared to a regular pull up.

If you do the opposite and arch your back while still trying to touch your toes, your lats will shorten.

Fully lengthening and shortening your muscles will cause the entire range of motion to be worked

At the bottom of the movement, you can round your back to achieve this. Regular pull-ups will limit your range of motion when it comes to the lats specifically.

This is because you won’t be able to lengthen your lats fully in the eccentric portion of the movement. Remember, a certain level of spine flexion needs to occur for your lats to be fully lengthened.

Gironda sternum chin-ups are a variation of chin-up that you can use to maximize middle back growth

However, most people don’t have the strength to perform this exercise. This is where rack pulls come in. Although they don’t emulate the Gironda pull-ups completely, they do a good job of mimicking them.

Start the movement by arching your back

Rack chins

Maintain the arch through the rep to keep the lats contracted. Keep some space between you and the bar – this helps retract your scapula, which is important for the recruitment of other muscles in your back.

Traditional pull-ups differ here as they don’t adequately target the back.

If you want added difficulty, ask a friend to add more weight on top of your legs

If your grip strength starts to give, don’t be afraid to use straps. The main point of the exercise is to overload the back, not work on grip strength. When you get to the top, make sure your legs are parallel to the floor.

If they’re higher, you’ll end up making the movement easier than it’s supposed to be. If your legs are lower than the parallel, then your lats won’t be shortened enough.

Bonus tip:

If you’ve got joint issues in your elbow from other exercises, lats pulls are a great exercise to minimize elbow strain.

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